Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beast Mode: Tony Martin Solo's to Stage Win, Tony Gallopin takes Yellow

            Tony Martin (Omega Pharma) soloed to the stage win today in Mulhouse. It is Martin’s 3rd stage win at the Tour de France and his first road stage win two previous time trial victories. A chase group of 20 riders finished 2’44” behind him with the peloton at 7’47”. The yellow jersey changed hands as Tony Gallopin slipped into the chase group and was able to gain enough time to done the maillot jaune. It will be a magical day tomorrow for Gallopin as he is a Frenchmen and will be leading the Tour de France on his country’s national holiday, Bastille Day.

A Day for the breakaway

The second day in the Vosges Mountains was characterized as a Hilly stage and not a mountain stage. There must have been a mix up because the day included 6 categorized climbs including the first cat. 1 climb of this year’s Tour. Team Astana had been controlling the race for the last week and it was evident they were getting tired. Riding on the front of the peloton day in and day out is very fatiguing. With the final week being so hard this year Astana realized they needed to save their riders legs a little bit. The other riders in the peloton knew this, meaning the chance of a breakaway surviving was very high.

The riders went straight uphill from the start with the cat. 2 Col de la Schlucht. The riders flew up the climb with attacks flying left and right. Thomas Voeckler led over the top with many chase groups forming behind him. On the descent things reshuffled and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma) and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) emerged leading, followed by an enormous 28-rider chase group that included Gallopin, who started the day 4’ back, and 5 EuropCar riders. De Marchi lead over the second climb of the day, Col du Wettstein, followed by Martin, but the chase group was just 25” behind. Astana controlled the peloton, which was now 2’ behind, clearly content with who was up front.

As the two leaders rode on, the chase group could not bring them back. Martin and De Marchi continued to extend their advantage over the Cote des Cinq Chateaux (3) and Cote de Gueberschwihr (2), with De Marchi taking maximum KOM points atop both of the climbs. De Marchi was clearly trying to get the Polka Dot jersey at the end of the day. With 82 km to go the leaders had 1’40” on the chase and 5’37” on the peloton. Martin appeared to be doing most of the work and De Marchi was stretching out his back a lot, a tell tale sign he was hurting.

I Must Go Alone

         Tony Martin allowed Alessandro De Marchi to take all of the KOM points, and De Marchi returned the favor by allowing Martin to cross the intermediate sprint point first with 65 km still to go to the finish. The final 65 km included the cat. 1 Le Markstein and cat. 3 Grand Ballon, but the final 43 km were a steep downhill run-in to the finish. Going up the Le Markstein Martin and De Marchi had extended their lead to the chase group. The chase group was losing firepower, as many riders were being dropped and forced to return to the shelter of the peloton. The peloton appeared to be in no rush at all as they had dropped to over 6’30” behind the two leaders. Gallopin had become the virtual leader on the road.

            About midway up the climb Martin decided it was time to go it alone. De Marchi was suffering and had become more of a burden to Martin. With Martin being alone he was able to ride his own rhythm up the climb, take it he knows how to ride by himself being a 3-time and current World Time Trial Champion. De Marchi was all over his bike suffering up the climb. He hoped to make over the top before the chasers to gain those precious KOM points in the race for the Polka Dot jersey. Meanwhile, back in the peloton Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Matthew Busche (Trek) both suffered mechanicals and were left standing in the middle of the road messing with their machines, both would make it back to the peloton.

            The top of the Le Markstein is a bit deceiving from the side the peloton climbed it today. It peaks out, but instead of going down it levels off for a few kilometers before kicking back up to the top of the Grand Ballon (3). De Marchi made it over the top of the Le Markstein in second place 1’30” behind Martin. He was now tied on points with Biel Kadri (AG2R) for the Polka Dot jersey. The chase group, led by Joaquin Rodriquez (Katusha) over the top, was closing in on De Marchi, as they were just 45” behind him. At this point the peloton had dropped to 8’04” behind with Team Astana still setting the pace.

Fighting for Time

            Over the top of the final climb of the day, the Grand Ballon, it was clear no one was going to catch Tony Martin. Martin was flying down the descent in his characteristic areo-tuck (sitting on his top tube). The chase group had caught De Marchi near the top of the Grand Ballon and Rodriquez had stolen the final KOM point from him leaving De Marchi still tied with Kadri on points. De Marchi did not take into account that Martin had been getting second on all of the climbs of the day and had ridden over the final two climbs first. Tony Martin was the new leading the Polka Dot jersey competition.

            As the riders came off the descent for the final run-in into the town of Mulhouse Martin had extended his lead to 3’ to now a chase group of only 20 riders. Tony Gallopin was doing the bulk of the work in the chase desperately trying to hold onto enough time to keep the yellow jersey. He need not worry though as the peloton was not chasing. Team Astana was perfectly content with Gallopin taking the yellow jersey because he was no threat to the final general classification.

            Tony martin saluted his team manager and the crowd as winner of the ninth stage of the Tour de France. Fabian Cancellara (Trek) brought home the chase group 2’44” later. Gallopin desperately awaited the peloton’s arrival to see if he would be pulling on the coveted maillot jaune. He would as the peloton rolled in 7’46” behind Martin giving Gallopin a 1’34” lead over Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in the general classification. Martin meanwhile, joked after the stage how he had created a second time trial in this year’s tour for himself.

Stage 9 Results:

Stage Winner: Tony Martin (Omega Pharma)
Yellow Jersey: Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol)
Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
White Jersey: Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma)

Polka Dot Jersey: Tony Martin (Omega Pharma)

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